A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Forgiveness Earned or Given?

Posted by lawman2 on December 22, 2008


Being an atheist I haven’t put much thought into the whole forgiveness thing as per say “the” church might say…but today I learned an important lesson on the subject and see its worth and value…

caveman-cookingToday my wife and I went and spent the day with her family.  Her dad who never cooks, actually gave the caveman some hope that I too might someday put together a nice meal for my family they can actually eat…without scraping off the burnt parts first!  (earlier post Caveman and Cooking)  He cooked some ham and green beans with potatoes altogether in a big pot in the oven.  I was surprised at how well it all tasted together.   My wife baked some rolls and an apple pie with her niece.  It was a great meal.  That being the most important part of my post. lol   No not really…but me being a caveman and all I did need to appeal to the other cavemen out there!  


caveman-and-womanAfter dinner I helped her dad stack some firewood and we talked a short while.  I needed to apologize to him for my plan to whisk his daughter away for Christmas…away from them (to understand this completely you will need to read my earlier post Embracing Our Dying).  But before I could really finish my well planned speech, he interrupted me to say “All is forgiven Joe.  You needn’t worry yourself anymore with the small things.  We are family now that you have married our daughter and we love and care about you. ”  he paused for just a minute and then added “And I mean that.” 

caveman-dumbI just stood there kind of dumb founded.  You see, this man I thought had pretty much always hated me.  He made it very clear he disapprovedof our marriage before we married.  My wife’s family is hard core Catholic, and I am an atheist they kind of view it as mixing oil and water I guess.  (earlier post This Caveman’s Manifesto) Now, I might have made some jabs at the whole God thing in the past, but really I was just defending myself from being bombarded with Christianity from her family and even her (earlier post A Caveman’s View on Church vs State).   But maybe that is how they felt as well.  Maybe they felt they were defending their faith and their daughter from my lack of belief and faith?   

Anyway back to the point I wanted to share with you…

 On the way back home to our little cave my wife asked what her dad and I talked about.  Unusual for her to ask about my conversations, but I was hoping she would as it was just killing me waiting for the right time to ask her how she felt about it.  Anyway,  I shared with her our conversation and then told her I didn’t understand her father’s sudden change of heart.  How quick he was to forgive just threw me off a bit, after all isn’t forgiveness earned…kind of like trust?  And his statement of love and my being part of their family was just weird to me.  I married her not her family! 

love-forgivenessShe sat there for a minute as if she never realized just how dumb I really was before that moment and then said  quietly “Trust is earned,  forgiveness is given.  I forgive someone if I choose to, not because they deserve my forgiveness, but because I have chosen to give it.  There is no love without forgiveness.  On the other hand I trust someone when they have proven to me they are worthy of my trust, and have earned it.”  she looked over at me and smiled a very kind smile, you know like one a mother might give a child who asks a stupid question…lol 

Still ever patient with her evolving caveman she continued  “Joe my family believes when two people unite in marriage they unite two families as well.  In other words my parents now see you as their own son, and how can you not love and care for your own children?” 

I will always remain an atheist but I have to say this,  her words left an impression on me and I do believe they hold true.  I am not a very forgiving type guy, but hell I never really feel like I deserve much forgiveness either.    Not that I am perfect, but when I apologize I don’t expect the other party to forgive me.  I just sleep better knowing in the end I did the right thing by offering my apology.   Trust on the other hand I am very stingy with.  lol 

images16Once again I prove the theory of evolution as I am an ever evolving caveman…





How do you feel about forgiveness and trust…given or earned?

You can read more caveman’s perspectives from lawman Just A Caveman


8 Responses to “Forgiveness Earned or Given?”

  1. kathy (kayms91) said

    The concept of forgiveness is sometimes hard for me… while I can forgive someone when they have truly wronged me but are truly sorry but how do you forgive someone when they are not sorry and don’t ask for your forgiveness AND continue to wrong you? They say it is good for the person who does the forgiving when they do so but I don’t understand how to do that when the person is unrepentant.


  2. Lawman2 said

    got me but hey i am just a caveman.don’t know i would ever want to forgive someone who wrongs me, much less forget the wrong! but i understand the concept anyway now.it just had to be put in a way that even a caveman could understand it…lol


  3. tothewire said

    To forgive doesn’t mean you forget, and it certainly doesn’t mean you put your hand back out to be bitten by the same dog twice. That goes back to trust.

    Forgiveness is a great tool used to regain control of yourself. In other words when someone does something horrible to you and the anger builds inside you THEY have control over your heart and mind. You think about it even when you don’t want to. The hurt inside grows and festers. When you forgive them you choose to put a bridel over that anger and gain control of the reins so to speak. The person who wronged you may not deserve your forgiveness, but you might deserve some peace.

    By the way we have all at sometime or another wronged someone either willingly or unknowingly… are any of us really worthy of forgiveness? I know I am not worthy of such compassion.
    BUT God must think so and I am grateful.

    I try to not push or shove my beliefs down anyone’s throat, and I am not looking for a debate but just felt the desire to post this comment and I hope it helps.


  4. kathy (kayms91) said

    I know you are right TTW… I appreciate your input because I do struggle with this, especially at this time of year. The only way I can get thru sometimes is to just forget ( but not forgive because I’m so angry! ). Actually, what really helps me is remembering that, like you said, we all are guilty of wronging others – even the very same ones that have wronged us – so I guess, just having empathy; understanding that none of us are perfect helps put things in perspective for me…

    Wow.. a very applicable subject for this time of year Lawman! Hey…maybe we should also have a ‘Dear Ann’ page? seriously…


  5. tothewire said

    How about a Dear Kay page… good idea.


  6. Lawman2 said

    i love the top picture…hehehe


  7. Rj said

    Excellent post. Very, very excellent.

    Second..EXACTLY what TTW said.


    Forgive–stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake

    Forgiveness is more about YOU than the offender. It is your choice to move on so that you can be angry with someone else. LOL

    You’re not forgetting if you do not forgive first, because the issue will resurface, even if it ends up being redirected at something unrelated. This redirection can be used to do good, however, you must have control over it for it to be productive. Maybe you are forgiving, without acknowledging it.


  8. centered2 said

    Lawman, good post.


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